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Jack Welch Human Resource Leader Essay

2658 words - 11 pages

One of the greatest and most effective business leaders of all time was Jack Welch, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of General Electric (GE). Over his 20 years as CEO, he established himself as the most admired business leader in the world. His initiatives of Six Sigma, globalization, and e-business have defined the modern corporation. He relied on being without limits and sharing ideas with all workers, he had an intense focus on people, and he had passion and integrity for GE. Of the Ten Commitments of Leadership, laid out by Kouzes and Poszner (2002) in the book, "The Leadership Challenge," serving as a guide on how leaders get extraordinary things done in an organization, I will examine the seven I see as the most important. The strengths and style of such a remarkable leader like Jack Welch compare to these commitments with great accuracy, as he has followed them throughout his career and his dealing with people on a day-to-day basis. By looking at these seven Commitments (Find your voice, Set the example, Envision the future, Enlist others, Search for opportunities, Foster collaboration, and Strengthen others) and the qualities of a leader such as Jack Welch, we are better able to understand what it takes to be successful in an organization and become better leaders ourselves.Jack Welch fully embodies the first of the Ten Commitments, which is "Find your Voice." A key element to finding one's voice is to clarify one's values and express oneself. Jack Welch did both of these starting his first day at GE. Welch (2001) stated, "In just one year, GE's bureaucracy would nearly drive me out of the company" (p. 20). His values were molded when he received his first raise of $1,000. Jack felt that this was an insufficient raise for all the work had had completed. He then negotiated with his boss, even put in his resignation, and the boss offered Jack an extra $2,000 to stay, a promise of increase in responsibility, and cover from the bureaucracy. This made a powerful impression on a young Jack Welch. Jack (2001) stated his values from this point on were for "rewarding the best and weeding out the ineffective" (p. 25). Jack had begun his unwavering commitment to his set of values early in his career. As CEO of GE, Jack began to express these values with his own voice. Throughout his career at GE, Jack stuck closely to the idea that rewarding the best and removing the weakest was the only way to run this business. He has spoken on this view throughout his career at GE, and acted on it in many ways.The second of the Ten Commitments is to "Set the Example," meaning a leader needs to build and affirm shared values and align actions with those values. Tremendous energy is generated when the values of an organization are all working towards the same goal. All of the executives at GE, and eventually the managers shared Jack's values of dealing with people, also. Welch (2001) believed in "always fighting to raise the bar" (p. 25) and focusing on his need to...

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